Hawai‘i is seeing unusually high tides that could continue through the summer. Phil Thompson, associate director of the University of Hawai‘i Sea Level Center (UHSLC) said high tides are about 10 to 20 centimeters above normal, a trend that started following the end of El Niño. Causes could include “thickening” in the upper ocean in the central Pacific due to certain wind patterns.
“There is more warm water in and around Hawai‘i,” Thompson said. “That causes sea levels to be a little higher.”
Professor of Geology & Geophysics and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, Chip Fletcher said the high water has been around for some time, and people seeing the unusual water levels and noting that it’s strange are not mistaken. “No it’s not a mistake — there has been a slug of high sea level for a year or more that has lingered around the islands,” he said.
“Definitely an unusual event. We haven’t seen something like this during the past 20 years or so,” said Mark Merrifield, professor of Oceanography and director of the UHSLC. The good news is that this sudden increase may be temporary. Merrifield said some forecasts suggests the superhigh tides will last at least through the summer.